For years, Demo Days (and nights) have been an important way for start ups to gain critical exposure to industry and financial players who might become beta customers, investors, and other important industry influencers. We launched our first competition at BuiltWorlds back in early 2015. That same year witnessed several additional important competitions, including an industry-focused competition at SXSW backed by Caterpillar, Cottonwood Technology Ventures, and, then recently launched, Brick & Mortar Ventures.
Today, while the Covid Pandemic may have have played a little havoc with schedules and moved events online, 2020 is proving to be the best year ever for early stage technology companies to show their wares to industry players and investors-alike, and in the fashion of prior events, groups are teaming up to host them and to provide more oxygen to the efforts of start ups in the sector, in the form of exposure, strategic support, and capital. Here is a rundown of some of 2020’s “big days.”
MetaProp Columbia Demo Day Feb 13, 2020 – The MetaProp Accelerator @ Columbia University launched in 2015, and its Demo Day is the presentation by start ups that complete their 22 weeks program. Presenters from their class of 2019/2020 included civil engineering AI start up Aren, building data plaftorm Switch Automation, and construction financials company, TRACFLO.
Shadow Ventures AEC/RE Pitchathon, June 2-3 – Founded by long-time industry entrepreneur, KP Reddy and with help from BuiltWorlds alum, Nick Durham, this group is hosting a marathon 60+ pitches over two days. Among the BuiltWorlds members pitching are Rebartek AS, SubHQ, and Ynomia. (Good luck! We’ll be pulling for you!)
Leonard Demo Day, June 4 – As we covered in our post last week, this day, showing off start ups graduating from Vinci’s Leonard Program marks Another Milestone in the Development of France’s Start Up Ecosystem. This one is also noteworthy because it offers graduates significant capital investment as well as support from the Vinci ecosystem.
COINS Grand Challenge, Aug/Sept 2020 – Back in 2018, we were honored to have participated in the COINS Grand Challenge. The challenge is unique because it is divided into two parts, an open competition and a competition exclusively for university students. This competition is one of the more interesting for those looking for recognition for concepts and ideas because, entrants don’t have to have a start up to enter, and there are cash prizes involved, included a discretionary investment of up to $150,000 for a winning start up.
BuiltWorlds Global Summit Demo Day Oct 6 – US Start-Ups dominated the spotlight in the earlier years of the industry’s venture expansion, but today, the world is full of interesting start ups in the sector, and some feel start ups outside the United States may even offer some better opportunities compared to the US start ups by virtue of the fact that American starts ups have enjoyed greater access to capital than their counterparts from around the world. So, in conjunction with our Digital Global Summit 2020 where we will look at regions of excellence in the industry’s ecosystem, we will dedicate a day specifically to giving the start up world outside the US a special focus.
CRE Tech Demo Days June 9| Sept 15| Dec 1 – With a broad focus on the real estate sector, globally, CRETECH, has been running demo days for its network for several years and is now offering access to its 60,000 email list to companies that want to apply for one of their three upcoming Virtual Demo Days.
CEMEX Ventures Construction Start-Up Competition 2020 , November 5 – This major new addition to the Demo Day line up is global and backed by heavy weight players: CEMEX Ventures, Ferrovial, Hilti, Saint Gobain, and Leonard by Vinci. It is a massive global effort with applications due July 26th, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the winners to present at our BuiltWorlds Venture Conference December 2nd and 3rd.
BuiltWorlds Venture Conference Dec 2-3 – We launched our venture conference back in May of 2018. Hosted at DLA Piper headquarters in Chicago, the event was a sold out success, and, that year, we added a second venture conference in Palo Alto in order to reach more of the industry’s investors. Then, in 2019, we added a third day to the conference, a Demo Day featuring some of the industry’s leading investors as judges. This year’s Venture Conference will again feature a demo day, sponsored and organized by the BuiltWorlds Venture Forum, a group of BuiltWorlds Members, leveraging the BuiltWorlds network as a platform for collaborating around early stage investing in the sector.
Other Historically Annual Competitions We are Also Watching:
LaFarge-Holcim Accelerator Program – Launched back in 2018, this program recently wrapped up its latest round. We’ll look for information on the next round in the months to come. Partners in the LH Accelerator include CCCC and Sika.
Zurich Innovation Championship – According to their website, Regional Evaluations for their 2020 Championship are Currently Under Way with pilots to be commenced this fall.
Whether live or virtual, the proliferation of opportunities for start ups in our sector to show off their work speaks, not only to the increasing number of industry players and technologists around the world focusing on solutions in the industry, it also sounds a hopeful note that with the increasing capital, focus on solutions, and industry attention, we will see significant additional progress in our efforts to create a safer, more productive, and higher quality industry in the years to come.